With another year comes another wave of players who have (arguably) played their last snap for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Everything has to come to an end, and a Super Bowl run for the Kansas City Chiefs isn’t immune. Each year is marked by a league-wide turnover of NFL rosters, and that includes the farewell to some of a franchise’s most beloved veterans and fringe talent that fans are likely happy to see leave town.
This year may be a little tougher when it comes to some players’ departures, considering not only have they won another championship, but many of those players have been a part of the Chiefs’ golden era of football for a long time. For longtime fans in KC, these players are the ones who have delivered the goods, even in small batches, and it would be nice to see everyone stick around as long as they like, like Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, and the door will close on several Chiefs over the next few weeks as a new league year begins. For some, it will be their decision. For others, it will be all about finances. But the NFL is a business and no one can lose sight of it, including the fans.
Let’s start with a banger.
To be clear, the Chiefs secondary really came to its end of the year as a young secondary came together with increased chemistry and communication and Thornhill’s play was a big part of the team’s success on defense. When the confetti was pouring down at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, the trio of Thornhill, Justin Reid and Bryan Cook had formed an impressive and versatile core that Steve Spagnuolo could lean on.
In a perfect world, the Chiefs would be able to bring Thornhill back and keep everyone in their place, but in the NFL, the cap requires teams to think years ahead during the draft and there’s a reason the Chiefs have settled on a second-round safety with plenty of other glaring needs in the 2022 NFL Draft. The goal was to give Bryan Cook a year as an experienced replacement while the Chiefs still had just one season left of their last second-round safety.
Thornhill had over 1,000 snaps last year and matched his career high with 3 interceptions and set a few more career marks with passes defended (9), tackles (71) and tackles for loss (4). A 27-year-old safety with two Super Bowl rings and an impressive production will enjoy a nice payday in free agency. Also, any questions about his 2019 ACL injury are long gone, as he’s played in 65 games over the past four seasons.
General manager Brett Veach telegraphed this move a year ago, and while the Chiefs often play three-look safety, it makes more sense to import another draft pick and keep the unit younger and cheaper. That is, unless Thornhill just wants to stay home and enjoy success at a steep discount.